Insufficient or Inadequate Information Is Usually Seen Term Paper

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Insufficient or inadequate information is usually seen as the greatest threat to the integrity of an argument. However, the fact is that even arguments, which are supported with a great amount of information, can prove to be faulty because of structural weaknesses. For example, suppressed, ignored, or unconsidered evidence can invalidate conclusions. Similarly, biased assumptions, failures in logic, and the neglect of counter-arguments can all lead to fallacies in reasoning (UNB, para 1). Thus, it is evident that critical thinking necessarily involves the consideration or avoidance of logical fallacies if it is to succeed in being "...purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based." (Facione, 1998, p. 14) There are a multitude of logical fallacies that may occur in reasoning or arguments. Since it would not be possible to do justice to explaining all the commonly known fallacies within the scope of this paper, the discussion that follows has been restricted to discussing the significance of three logical fallacies to critical thinking and decision making. The fallacies, which have been chosen for the purposes of this paper, are faulty analogy; slippery slope; and red herring.

Sometimes referred to as a weak analogy or questionable analogy, a faulty analogy undermines an argument. As arguments by analogy are usually complex, the fallacy of faulty analogy can take different forms. However, the common characteristic is that the connections drawn between the parallels do not support inference to the desired conclusion (O'Rourke, 2001, Chapter 7, para 22). Indeed, this is perhaps the reason why this logical fallacy is sometimes also referred to as a weak or "questionable analogy." "Questionable analogy arises when you are able to point to one or more significant differences between the two cases being compared in an analogy. The crucial - and very worldview dependent - question is: do the relevant differences between the two cases outweigh the relevant similarities? If so, the analogy is weak..
.." Thus, if a young girl of 19 argues that it is perfectly okay for her to have a drink or two every day because a family friend with a heart condition was told by his doctor that a glass of wine every day will help him relax and improve his digestion, it is a faulty analogy. The connections drawn here are nebulous because of significant differences in the two contexts (Ess, 1987, para 1,4).

Faulty analogies, such as the example cited above, are common since it is easy to become impressed by a connection or two and then see an analogy where there really isn't one (O'Rourke, 2001, Chapter 7, para 22). Surprisingly, even organizations often make business decisions based on faulty analogies. Take, for example, the mistakes made by Disney Parks and Resorts in France. Based on the successful replication of its U.S. theme parks in Japan, Disney assumed that the same business model would work in Paris as well. Euro Disney, however, proved to be a very different story in terms of operations. While there were some similarities in customer preferences, the differences proved to be far stronger. For instance, one of the biggest differences, which proved to be a costly error for Disney, was that Europeans treated theme parks as places for day excursions. This difference led to Disney's billion dollar luxury hotels going half-empty most of the time (Gumble & Turner, 1994, para 7).

Slippery Slope argument also attempts to draw connections but between cause and effects. It takes the form of a valid deductive argument in the form of a string of "if-then" statements, which finally lead to a conclusion. However, although a slippery slope argument may be deductively valid, it is still a fallacious form of argument since the causal connections are not hundred percent certain (Ess, 1987, para 1,4). Slippery slope arguments can be conceptual, used in fairness or moral discussions, or causal. The most common form though is causal slippery slope.....

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